Here I sit, drinking seltzer and grapefruit juice out of my classic Wonder Woman Toon Tumbler. How perfect.
An Interesting Analysis
This comment came in, thank you, Ms. Carol A. Strickland. She has interesting things to say. I recommend checking out her views on the New 52 WonderWoman.
Carol A. Strickland has left a new comment on your post “WONDER WOMAN #4 – A Review“:
I didn’t look at the book as an individual work. I’ve been following Wonder Woman for about as long as I can remember. I’ve been looking for her since issue #600, but she hasn’t shown her face except in a 90s RetroActive issue.
This is not Wonder Woman; nor is it an engaging story. From what I’ve been able to gather, DC is publishing “(Xena and) THE NEW OLYMPIANS.” Certainly in the past couple years DC has done its darnedest to strip any of the specialness from its number-one heroine, the lady whose licensing makes them so much money.
I discussed the reboot on my blog: http://carolastrickland.blogspot.com/2012/01/illusory-wonder-woman.html
Posted by Carol A. Strickland to Jim Shooter at January 19, 2012 11:37 AM
I did not read her analysis until after I completed my own.
Start at the Beginning
Jeremy had this to say:
Jeremy has left a new comment on your post “WONDER WOMAN #4 – A Review“:
I disagree vehemently with “Every issue should be an entry point”. I would never recommend jumping into a story in the middle of its tenure. Its like watching a random new episode of The Wire, and then whining about being confused about the plot and the characters. Well no shit, buddy! Those episodes and these issues are all part of the same story. You want to properly enjoy it, you start at the beginning.
Personally, I’m sick of the constant need for “jumping on points”. You start at the beginning of the story, whether it be a new #1 or issue #678 like today’s Amazing Spider-Man. That’s it. I don’t want to go back to the Shooter era where EVERY SINGLE ISSUE the characters have to re-introduce themselves through captions, thought bubbles, and clumsy expositional dialog. Every damn issue of Claremont’s X-men he has to introduce the characters AGAIN, explain their powers AGAIN, etc. It’s tiring.
Marvel has a “Previously on…” page in the beginning, and that’s about as far as I want it to go.
Posted by Jeremy to Jim Shooter at January 18, 2012 5:31 PM
Regarding “It’s tiring,” my answer was “I never told anyone to do it badly.”
But, okay, fair enough. The story has only been running for four issues. Nine more bucks bought me #1-3, and now I have the entire run to date—as of the day I got the books, anyway. I understand that #5 came out Wednesday.
The story starts in Singapore, at night, with a long shot of the city. Green captions seem to have someone’s dialogue in them. A reply comes in a black caption.
Three beautiful young women are on a high terrace of what is probably a hotel. With them is a man in a three-piece suit. His skin is black, really black, with grayish purple areas I take to be highlights. No eyeballs has he, but a glow comes from where they ought to be. His mouth glows too. The young women apparently do not notice anything unusual about the guy. By the way, much later, we will see that he isn’t wearing shoes or socks with his three-piece, an interesting sartorial choice. The women apparently didn’t notice that either, or were cool with it.
So…there’ll be some payoff, some aha! revelation later of why three women find the black-black, glowing eyes, glowing mouth, barefoot guy unremarkable, right?
The conversation begun in the green and black captions continues, so anyone paying reasonable attention might possibly guess that the green captions belonged to one of the young women and the black caption belonged to Bright-eyes.
Bright-eyes says he’s the “…sun of a king.”
A commenter clued me in to the fact that Bright-eyes is Apollo, the sun god, which I did not gather from reading issue #4 earlier.
That being the case, I forgive the pun. It’s the kind of lame-o, little private drollery to amuse oneself that someone might actually say if one happened to be a sun god, child of god-king Zeus. Come on, how many failed witticisms, bad jokes and lame puns a day do you make?
I do my best to pretend I don’t know Bright-eyes is Apollo and focus on only what’s here, what’s presented.
Bright-eyes talks a little about the family, his philandering father, his father’s jealous wife (who obviously is not his mother). His dad is “missing,” by the way.
Glowing eyes and mouth, sun-pun, Lothario-like father, jealous wife-of-father, the fact that the book is about an Amazon, therefore linked to Greek mythology—pretty much everybody knows Wonder Woman is an Amazon, right?—and, well, maybe I would have figured out that Bright-eyes is Apollo. Maybe. The black-black skin seems un-sunny. Puzzling.
The whole thing is puzzling. How does this weird-looking guy get the three beautiful young women up to his hotel room? My wanting to know that has nothing to do with the fact that I am a weird-looking guy.
Comic book readers have been conditioned to accept the damndest things. It’s just easier to shrug and get on with the show than it is to ponder such madness. So many of us cheerfully accept so many things that are absurd on the face of them that writers don’t even bother to give logic-seekers a hook to hang their hats on.
Am I the only one who cares about such things?
Bright-eyes lays hands upon the young women, whose eyes roll up. They float into the air, apparently, or he picks them up somehow, evidenced by their feet being off the deck, their chic pumps—at least one pair of intriguing sandal toes, for interested parties—gracefully falling away.
The young women’s champagne glasses are dropped over the railing. Look out below.
Cut to a barn in Virginia.
Wait a minute! What happened to the women with the groovy shoes?
Dunno. I wade on.
A mysterious figure, apparently female, wearing a peacock-feather cloak and hood, enters the barn. Glowy-lines might indicate that she just teleported in. Whatever.
There are two horses in the barn (that are shown).
I’m guessing here, but apparently a bunch of weapons that were hidden under the female figure’s cloak fall out, or she poops them. I’m ready to believe anything at this point.
She does something I take to be magical to a scythe she finds in the barn. Why she didn’t just use one of the bladed instruments that came from under her cape rather than doctor up a rusty old one that happened to be there, I don’t know. She kills both of the horses seen. Chops their horsey heads off.
Don’t know what happens to feather-cape woman. But from one of the headless horse’s necks, human hands and arms push up out of the bloody mangled horseflesh. Then, what might be a human head pushes out. What? There’s a person inside the dead horse? I am completely at sea, here. I have no idea what’s going on.
Cut to an exterior shot of a house. Is that the barn from the previous scene in the background? Looks like it might be.
Inside the house (apparently) a guy who is flesh-colored in the first panel then blue thereafter, with a WWI U.S. Army helmet, bird feet, little wings on his bird-ankles and bizarre, inhuman eyes is facing off with a young woman holding a pump-action, 16-gauge (I’m guessing) shotgun. Three rounds, assuming a magazine plug, probably five if not. But, I digress….
Bird-foot is warning her—her name is Zola—that someone is coming to kill her. She demands that he leave. She has no discernible reaction to his bird-feet, etc.
Centaurs (!) attack. A white horse-body one and a black or grey horse-body one.
Hmm, two centaurs, two horses butchered in the barn…. I flip back to the barn sequence and note that one of the murdered horses is white and one is black or grey. It takes me a minute—maybe I’m dense, but I finally put it together that these are those horses and the human head and arms pushing out from one of their necks was supposed to an indication that the murdered horses were transforming into centaurs. Chopping a horse’s head off, the horse growing a human upper body and becoming a centaur is a new one to me, sorry. Hey, I’m still struggling with the concept of Comet the Super Horse. And I wrote dialogue for him.
It seems that the centaurs took time to clean up a little before attacking. There’s no sign of any blood or gore. They wouldn’t want to be tracking that stuff in the house, I suppose.
The centaurs bear the weapons that feather cape woman pooped.
Bird-foot is impaled by an arrow fired by a centaur.
He flips Zola a key that teleports her away just before a blade swung by a centaur would have killed her.
She winds up in some woman’s bedroom in London. The woman is in bed, asleep.
Snoozy-Q wakes up in the last panel of page ten. On page eleven she bolts up and grabs Zola by the neck and hoists her off the floor, demonstrating considerable strength. Snoozy-Q quickly determines that this intruder is no threat and lets go.
Snoozy-Q apparently recognizes the key and apparently knows what it does.
So, the key, one would think, would lend some credibility to Zola’s babbled tale of monsters trying to kill her. One would think Snoozy-Q would want to hear more, right now about the danger so great that the “man,” Zola mentions “threw” her the key to get her the Hades out of wherever she was (and send her directly to Snoozy-Q). One would think that Zola might mention that the man took an arrow in the gut. One would think that one of them, at least, would be worried about the man who, one might reasonably suspect, is still trapped back there with the monsters.
Snoozy-Q gets dressed. She takes her time. One would think there’d be some urgency.
We get two relatively mild tease-y, cheesecake-y panels. Ultimately, Snoozy-Q is revealed as, ta–da!—WONDER WOMAN…!
…though she insists her name is Diana.
So the title character makes her first appearance on page ten, asleep, unclothed, or mostly so. On page thirteen (!) she’s finally dressed as the title character.
WW asks for the key. We don’t know what her plan is. But it’s moot. Zola somehow, suddenly knows how to work the teleportation key and transports herself and Wonder Woman back to her home in rural Virginia. Near Culpeper, I hope. I like Culpeper.
The centaurs attack Wonder Woman and chase Zola, intent upon killing her. Wonder Woman, with both arms free, chooses to slam her head into one of the centaur’s heads. The centaur is disabled, at least for a while. WW is fine.
Go ahead, try this at home. Find someone stupid and bang heads with them. See how you both feel. That trick only works on TV, in the movies, and in this logic-challenged comic book. Is WW so impervious to harm that she would be unaffected by a wicked head impact? Maybe. But, only a moment earlier, she was desperately (judging from her expression) dodging the horsey-man’s hooves. So, she can’t be all that damage-proof.
Maybe WW has a new power I don’t know about—super-hard-headedness.
Wonder Woman saves Zola from the centaurs. They flee, one missing an arm.
Now there are two centaurs roaming around Culpeper County, one frantically seeking a veterinarian. It’s okay. No veterinarian in this comic book will find centaurs at all unusual.
During the course of the battle, Wonder Woman proves that she is fast, agile, able to block incoming arrows with her bracelets, extremely hard-headed and strong enough/skilled enough to throw a sword a great distance to slice off a centaur’s arm.
And she carries a lasso! My, God, if she were wearing sandal toe pumps, I’d be in love!
But, honestly, I can’t help thinking that the creators are going for “moments” rather than story, sound and fury rather than substance…and some puerile titillation.
Why is Zola running around in panties, a teddy and a plaid shirt?
My quick calculations say that if it’s just before dawn in Singapore (which it turns out to be), it’s 5-6 PM in Culpeper, and, oh, by the way, 10-11 PM in London (though if you look closely at Big Ben it’s either 12:05 AM or 1:00 AM). Wonder Woman goes to bed early, I guess. Probably some Amazon custom.
But, Zola is rather underdressed for late afternoon, don’t you think?
As the battle unfolds, green captions with someone’s dialogue in them and black captions with someone else’s appear. If you remember the green and black captions from page one and the first panel of page two, you might say, aha! It’s the young women and Bright-eyes talking in these captions! Right here in Culpeper County, all the way from Singapore!
I didn’t remember right away, but I sussed it out halfway through. Then I went back and reread all of the captions. The young women, apparently, have become oracles. I guess that happened when their eyes rolled up and they lost their pumps.
The oracles’ captions say a lot of cryptic stuff. “There is a storm gathering.” Uh-huh. It’s so vague that it doesn’t really serve as much of a tease, for me at least. The only intriguing thing the oracles have to say is that whatever trouble’s coming won’t end “good” for Bright-eyes.
Cutting back to Singapore for a panel or two at the beginning of this captions-over bit, showing the beginning of the oracles’ prophesying live, and then playing out the rest in captions over the battle scene would have avoided some confusion. But, avoiding confusion seems pretty low on the creators’ priority list.
Zola has run some distance away. Wonder Woman retrieves her by lassoing her and yanking her back. Zola flies an estimated 40 feet, reaching an estimated maximum altitude of 10-12 feet, landing hard on the ground in front of WW.
But Zola is fine. Not so much as an “ouch.” No crying she makes.
Bird-foot staggers out of the badly battered house. He calls Wonder Woman “Amazon.” He says, “Take the girl and run to the ends of the Earth. Protect her… Or the Queen will see her dead.”
All righty, then. Feather cape woman must be the Queen, or her agent. Queeny is out to get Zola for some reason. Bird-foot wants to help Zola and presumes Wonder Woman will too. And she did, albeit largely in self-defense.
Wonder Woman calls Bird-foot “Hermes.” Hermes? With bird feet? Anyway, she knows the guy.
We saw Hermes take an arrow to the gut, but now his right bird-foot is damaged as well. Injury inflicted by the centaurs while Wonder Woman was languorously dressing? We’ll never know.
Hermes pulls the arrow out, its point trailing strands of tissue, covered with blood and red lumpy stuff. God guts. Yuck.
The following exchange occurs:
Hermes: “What did they do to me?”
Wonder Woman: “The impossible.”
Hermes: “Heh… That must have gone the way of the pantheon.”
I have no idea what that means. Do you?
There are a number of exchanges every once in a while in this story that baffle me….
Turns out that Zola is pregnant by Zeus, who was (presumably) previously alluded to by Bright-eyes on page two: “My father…gets around. Pisses his wife off to no end.”
If there was any doubt about who Hermes meant by “the Queen,” for sure, now, it’s Hera. Hera, famously jealous and vengeful. The attack on Zola was obviously motivated by Hera’s being pissed off at her and Hera’s hatred for the embryo Zola carries that is the product of her husband’s loins.
What is it about this girl Zola that inspired the King of the Gods to have a fling with her? Am I wrong, or isn’t Zeus generally depicted pursuing only the most beautiful of mortal women, when he stooped to slumming among mortals? Zola doesn’t seem to me to fit the profile. She’s no Halle Berry.
So…there’ll be some payoff, some aha! revelation later of why Zeus chose Zola, right?
Not gonna hold my breath waiting….
Cut back to Singapore.
More unfathomable, cryptic prophecy from the floating, now sadly bereft-of-footwear young women. It makes a little more sense now that we’re clued in for sure that Bright-eye’s dad is Zeus. It’s still abstruse.
The sun is rising.
Bright-eyes incinerates the young women—no reason offered—and their blazing bones tumble down from the terrace. Look out below.
We meet Hera, the peacock feather-caped woman. Looks like my type, except for the slaughtering horses, murdering people thing. I mean, she’s obviously a little more mature than the standard comic book woman, but what a nice figure. I wonder if she has a lasso?! Or sandal toe pumps?!
She does a dressing scene reminiscent of Wonder Woman’s dressing scene. I guess nude with a cape is only for when she’s really out for blood. We also meet a blue-ish purple woman who calls Hera “mother,” and, in her conversation with Hera it is revealed that Hera’s husband, Zeus, is her father. A legitimate child.
Hera has a scrying pool. She knows that Wonder Woman has taken Zola and Hermes to Paradise Island, home of the Amazons.
The Amazons aren’t happy about a male being, Hermes, being on their all-women island, but, they accept it because Wonder Woman is their Princess, daughter of their Queen, Hippolyta.
So, Wonder Woman and mom hang out watching, along with many of Hippolyta’s subjects, a couple of Amazons wrestling. Well, they’re Amazons. I didn’t expect a sewing bee.
Wonder Woman has decided to protect Zola. She’s not siding with the philandering Zeus, she just feels bad for poor Zola, caught in the middle between Zeus and murderously jealous Hera.
Zola and the convalescing Hermes hang out in quarters overlooking the outdoor arena where the wrestling is going on. Zola tells Hermes that Zeus came to her as a truck driver…or a pool hustler…or a guy in a band…. Zola, like Zeus, gets around.
Hermes tells Zola the legend of Wonder Woman’s birth. Barren Hippolyta made a girl baby (of course) out of clay and “the gods” brought the clay-baby to life.
Meanwhile, a huge Amazon, Aleka, challenges Wonder Woman to a sporting combat. Aleka is armed with a sword and seems to be going for maiming or the kill. WW is armed with a staff and wins, fairly easily, it seems.
Meanwhile, an Amazon named Dessa asks Hippolyta why she seems troubled. Hippolyta tells her that she’s feeling fear. She knows that Hera knows (apparently she’s heard about that scrying pool) that Zola (and Zeus’s bastard in her womb) are on Paradise Island. Uh-oh.
That’s a cue. I hate cutesy cues.
The bluish-purple woman who was talking with Hera earlier has arrived with a booom. As before, she is wearing what appears to be electrical tape.
The Amazons rush to defend their island from whatever caused the booom.
Bluish-electrical-tape woman makes the Amazons see each other as enemies. They ignore her and slaughter each other. Wonder Woman is immune to, or sees through Bluish-electrical tape’s ploy. She stops the slaughter, easily handling Aleka again.
Wonder Woman identifies Bluish-electrical-tape woman as the goddess “Strife.” Somebody clued me in to the fact that “Strife” was Greek goddess Eris, and I looked her up. “Strife” is a reasonably accurate presentation of Eris. But, forget that, let me just deal with what’s in front of me.
Strife informs WW that she’s come to Paris Island to embrace her “sister,” i.e., another daughter of Zeus’s, Wonder Woman.
Hera, watching in her scrying pool notes this revelation.
If I were a jealous spouse, if I had a scrying pool, wouldn’t I pretty well know all the dirt?